[LINK] Computers for schools more than hardware

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Feb 22 10:05:20 EST 2008

Tom Worthington wrote:
> At 01:07 PM 21/02/2008, grove at zeta.org.au wrote:
>> On Wed, 20 Feb 2008, Tom Worthington wrote:
>>> Cost one computer per student for each school, with support. My 
>>> estimate for a minimal setup is $500 for a Zonbu type thin client (or 
>>> ASUS type Laptop),
>> What about Sunray? These are very thin and don't cost much at all. ...
> The Sunrays start at about $US249.00, but seem to be very thin thin 
> clients and to that price you need to add a monitor and a remote 
> application server to drive it 
> <http://www.sun.com/sunray/sunray2/specs.xml#anchor3>. For about $US100 
> more you can get enough memory and processing power to store and run 
> applications locally.
>> laptops or traditional computers have lots of moving parts that 
>> require tech support.  ...
> I expect we will see a continuum between thin clients and standalone 
> computers. Low price, low power laptops and desktop will be made with no 
> moving parts by using a low power processor and flash memory. Don't add 
> much memory and you have a thin client, add more memory and you have 
> something which can boot on its own, run applications but still relies 
> on a network connection for data storage. Plug in a disk drive and you 
> have an independent computer.
> But I expect almost no one will want a completely network independent 
> computer. It doesn't make sense to store important information in a 
> desktop computer which can be lost, stolen, or broken.

A word of warning here, based upon my experience in IT outsourcing. Most 
of the cost is in addition to the initial hardware costs of the 
individual machines. Without knowing your proposed network, server, 
support and funding model (ie you have to assume that these things will 
get replaced at end of life) it is not possible to come up with very 
accurate numbers. However, I would suggest you start with a minimum 
total system cost of five to ten times the cost of the initial user 

There is also the issue of optimising whole of system costs against 
minimising desktop/laptop costs. A desktop/laptop machine that is at the 
top of the range might end up in the whole system being cheaper in the 
long run.

False economies and bad assumptions abound in the IT world.



Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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